Junkyard Find: 2000 Chevrolet Metro Hatchback
Starting with the Chevrolet Sprint in 1985, General Motors sold rebadged versions of the Suzuki Cultus all the way through the 2001 model year. For the 1989 through 1997 model years, these cars were sold as Geo Metros; after the demise of the Geo brand, they became Chevrolets.
Unlike most miserable econoboxes, the Metro’s decades-long reputation for frugality has kept it on the road for longer than most of its competition, and 21st-century examples are very rare in wrecking yards. Here’s one in a Denver self-service yard.
I looked for a 2001 Metro for quite a while, since I enjoy photographing final-year-of-long-production cars in junkyards, but had to settle for a 2000. This one averaged well over 12,000 miles per year over its lifetime, and still looks pretty clean.
A four-cylinder engine displacing a cavernous 1.3 liters was available as an option for much of the Metro Era, but this car has the penny-pinching 1.0-liter three-cylinder. The four-banger was good for 79 horsepower in 2000, but this car had just 55.
At least it has the five-speed manual transmission, which reduced the misery level somewhat. I once owned a can’t-pass-up-this-deal cheap 1996 Metro with the four-cylinder and automatic, and it was dangerously slow.
The later Metros were built in Ontario by the Suzuki-GM CAMI partnership, so this patriotic gas-sipper is pure North American.
Air conditioning was available in these cars, as can be seen by the block-off plate for the A/C button.
Harlan Ellison liked this car very much, if we are to believe this commercial for the final Geo-badged Metros.
In Japan, these cars weren’t considered incredibly small, but they were still pitched to the frugal.
Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.
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